by Elsie Mendez
The first time I formally Heard about wines was during my Mexican Gastronomy Certification at the Escuela de Gastronomía Mexicana, owned and directed by my good and very admired friends Edmundo Escamilla and Yuri de Gortari. As part of the program, there’s a chapter devoted to wine dictated by the respected sommelier Rene Rentería who, without even us notice it, made us lose our fears and frustrations learned through those self-called “great connoiseurs” that walk around making feel everyone as great ignorants in the subject with the phrase “it would take you years to achieve a comprehension of wine”.
Although we can’t consider ourselves experts in the subject, truth is that now we feel more confident learning one step at a time and experimenting through pairings we achieve ourselves or, better yet, get a personal opinion when tasting menus are presented. The best thing is that now, more often than before, we attend wine tastings where we learn the characteristics and personality of the wines we get to know and, thus, get inside the wine world deeper and deeper.
First we learned of wines from the hand of the master ReneRenteria was that the wine must be appreciated with the heart along with the rest of our 5 senses, I quote him… “How beautiful is the wine that comes from close to the heart of the earth and die as close to the hearts of men” do not know if the phrase is his, but he made it very clear that to enjoy a wine one should not be an expert, because like the food we put into our mouths, it doesn’t matter if it is made by the best and most famous chef or by ourselves in our kitchen at home, it is important to appreciate the flavors, colors, aromas and even the something noise it makes in our mouth. If we dare to give an opinion on a plate, why not about wine?
Our palate and brain must be educated, not only with information including ingredients, recipes, and of course drinks that invites us to experience more and more unfamiliar flavors and even those we have already tried to combine them with other than what we regularly do in order to discover new ones.
Something important to consider is that as humans we are not all equal and we are physically, chemically and biologically different, therefore by combining the ingredients themselves with these qualities in our mouths, it will taste, smell, and look differently than it will do to others. Some people have more developed senses than others and this makes a difference in the experiences we can share when we taste a wine, a dish or both together with the famous marriage.
What is wine tasting? Using your senses to determine the quality of the food or beverages and it has three stages: view, scent and taste.
What do you see? If it is white, red or rosé wine. You can see the age, color, cleanness and absence of defects.
What do you scent? First of all that it smells good not as vinegar or acetone. From there, depending on our capabilities we can discover an endless list of scents from wood, fruits, spices or more. There are more than 800 different scents we can discover in a wine. Particularly myself, I’m not that good at this point, maybe because I need to exercise more my nose, for which I recommend attend to more blind wine tastings or tasting labs where we are trained to identify scents with our eyes closed. We are so used to only see and identify the taste with it that is necessary to work better and exercise our brain so we can get everything by only smelling it.
What do you taste? We confirm what we saw and smelled and see if it stays in our mouth after we taste and swallow. Running the wine through our mouth is important as we can feel those feature of every wine we have more affinity to.
Something very important, as I said before, is our heart and mood as they are involved in the tasting, so I recommend you always take note when tasting a wine if you are depressed, angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, as all these feelings do not allow us to be totally ready to taste a wine. So take a breath, let your bad thoughts and feelings go away and enjoy the wine so that it does not affect the tasting experience.
Of course I do not intend to leave this as a class and there are many things we all need to learn and experience with wine, but I do invite you to lose your fear, attend tastings and laboratories of taste fortunately very common in our country and come closer to the wonderful world of wine.
This article comes from my last tasting I attended with friends I met through Twitter and from whom I learned a lot of wines, especially Mexican wines, and aware of their extensive knowledge I dared to organize a tasting with Vinos Hasta Que Se Agoten who graciously opened their doors and offered a wonderful space in Mexico City to carry out this tasting. To this call Vineyards La Redonda also respond and through its General Manager they offered their best wines.
So you see if I, a simple enjoyer of the wine world, dares to go to lunch with the owner of a vineyard and asks a company dedicated to promoting, supporting and bringing the wines to knowledgeable consumers that we organize a tasting with experts, there’s no doubt you can do the same.
Get together with friends, and without fear come closer to teachers like René who are always willing to share what it has taken them years. Reach out to companies like Vinos Hasta Que Se Agoten, and organize a tasting. The first step is the most important and less embarrassing than you think!